(BPT) - Bryan, a dedicated father of three sons and a busy driver for a shipping company, was 52 years old when he underwent a quadruple bypass procedure following three heart attacks and was diagnosed with heart failure. Bryan saw his life change and, since then, he has found a new passion as a volunteer for The Mended Hearts Inc. (MHI), supporting others living with heart failure. Through his work with MHI, he shares his own journey with heart failure and how he finds joy in everyday activities, maintains a trusting relationship with his doctor, spreads awareness, and gives back to the community.
Heart failure is a common, serious condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen. More than 1,000,000 new cases are diagnosed in Americans over the age of 55 each year. Currently, more than 6 million American adults have heart failure, and that number is expected to increase to nearly 8 million by 2030.
"When I was diagnosed with heart failure, I couldn’t believe it,” said Bryan. “But my cardiologist was able to explain the diagnosis in such a way that I could understand how it would impact my life.”
Since being diagnosed with heart failure, Bryan has enjoyed the support of his close friends and family. They help him stay on a healthy diet, accompany him on walks, and remind him to take his medications. Bryan’s children are among his biggest advocates, always looking out for him with the best of intentions. “My sons inspire me to continue looking forward to each day, even when some days are tougher than others,” said Bryan.
Bryan also maintains an open and trusting relationship with his doctor and continuously monitors his health, which has allowed for him to feel like a partner in his care.
“All the steps I am taking in my daily life allow me to find joy in the simplest activities,” said Bryan. “I want to be able to watch my two grandchildren, age two years and five months, grow. Family is everything to me.”
For people with heart failure, like Bryan, and their loved ones, At the Heart of the Matter: Moving Forward After Your Heart Failure Hospitalization is a program that provides support and educational information. Sponsored by Merck in collaboration with MHI, the program was created to help people living with heart failure better understand their condition and play a more proactive role in their care.
“I’ve learned that things can change in the blink of an eye, and it’s important to take life by the reins and enjoy it for all it’s worth. Living with heart failure is a wake-up call to start living your life and find your purpose,” explains Bryan. “I have had the humbling experience of giving back to my community and helping others through their own unique experiences with heart failure, which, in turn, helps me. Knowing that there are others in the community who have experienced similar challenges motivates me to keep going.”
For resources on living with heart failure and to see more stories from patients like Bryan, visit AtTheHeartOfTheMatter.com.